18+ foreign exchange volunteers give back to local communities

14 international participants from Germany and Belgium gathered last week in Kuala Lumpur for their AFS Malaysia Delayed Orientation Camp. The AFS Delayed Orientation camp is held to support the participants to overcome and adjust to any cultural shock and help them to adapt with the local lifestyle.

These international participants are placed in local Non Govermental Organization (NGO) between 6 months to a year to complete their community service program. Some of the NGOs we work closely with are All Women Action’s Society (AWAM), National Stroke Association Malaysia (NASAM) Kuantan, Women Aid Organization (WAO) and many more.

Jule Cosch, AFS volunteer from Germany
I experience different culture and community simultaneously
Jule Cosch, 21 years from Germany, currently completing her exchange program in Penang said, “I currently volunteer for The Penang Buddhist Association Senior Citizens’ Home. Through this experience, I have started to learn Chinese but it is not that easy. I am also learning how to eat with chopsticks!” One of her culture shock she underwent is the living experience with the senior citizens at the association, but now is used to the idea and enjoying the experience. Jule also added, “ At the beginning, I was not used to local food but now, I love Indian food like Tosai and Naan is my favourite!”

Participants from Germany and Belgium
with AFS Malaysia volunteers and staff

Lisa Kerl, AFS volunteer from Germany
An opportunity for me to create meaningful connections
Lisa Kerl, 23 years old from Germany is currently completing her exchange experience by volunteering with AFS Malaysia.  Lisa Kerl said, “I like my work and the people I work with. Volunteering with AFS Malaysia’s National office has given me the opportunity to meet with new people in the local community. “Just like the AFS tagline ‘Connecting Lives, Sharing Cultures’ I really feel that when I see the cultural diversity in Malaysia and people here are nice when they make me feel welcome in their home country.” Kerl added.

Participants sharing their experiences in one of the session

Yearly, AFS Malaysia invites participants from other countries to participate in the 18+ Community Service Program. The program allows international participants to be attached with selected NGOs where they are given specific tasks or job responsibility according to their skills and experience. The volunteer work experience enables both local NGOs and participants to exchange knowledge and experience while learning each other’s culture.

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